Public Policy on Drug Abuse

Introduction

Over the past decades, the problem of drug abuse has continued to present challenges to our government, our families, and the whole society in general. As an important component that drives and directs our society, the government has been developing several measures aimed at mitigating the challenge of drug abuse. With an array of multiple perspectives on how to handle the challenge of drug abuse, it may be difficult to measure the success of the government policy on drug abuse. Still, it can be said with a measure of confidence that there is a need to improve on certain issues; which have been designed to mitigate the problem of drug abuse.

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The policy problem

Over the past few decades, there has been an increase in the number of people in our society that abuse drugs. Such a direction has escalated to such a degree that illegal drug substances have continues to penetrate the market despite a range of measures that have been established by our government to halt the movement of illegal drug substances (Kleiman et al., 2000). Being a big business, where billions of dollars are handled, the drug business has compromised a number of personalities and personnel in the government (Kleiman et al., 2000).

As a result, it has increasingly become difficult to totally halt the drug business in our society. Drugs like cocaine still find their way to our ports and airports on transit to intended markets (Kleiman et al., 2000). While the majority of people in our jails with drug related offences have been found in possession of small quantities of drugs, the real suppliers and producers of drugs have remained difficult to capture and prosecute (Harold, 1990).

The problem of drug abuse needs to be handled through an effective and efficient public policy that would eliminate the repercussions of drug abuse in our society. One of the major repercussions of drug abuse has been an increase in a wave of crimes attributed to drug abuse; hence, compromising the security and wellbeing of citizens in our society (Harold, 1990). Besides, the abuse of drugs has been shown to contribute significantly towards the degeneration of moral values, dignity, and the general wellbeing of affected individuals (Drug Detox, 2008).

It is not just those who abuse drugs that face the negative impacts of their actions, friends, relatives, and our whole society in general has also felt the weight of drug abuse. Such is the case when a family encounters challenges like psychological breakdowns when a member of their family becomes an addict of a certain drug/drugs. As it can therefore be seen, there is a need for the government to continue and even improve on its public policy designed to mitigate the problem of drug abuse.

Background

Recognizing the dangers that have been presented to our society through the abuse of drugs, the government has been designing several measures to mitigate the problem of drug abuse. As it can be expected, the government has passed laws that have made the abuse of drugs illegal; with varying degrees of sentences on offenders depending on the type and quantity of illegal substances that one has abused, or that one has been found in possession of (Andrews, 2008). While producers of illegal substances get maximum penalties, distributors of illegal substances obtain lesser penalties with actual drug abusers get least penalties (Andrews, 2008).

While such an arrangement appears fair on paper, it has been difficult to net the real culprits in the drug war-producers and distributors (Andrews, 2008). Such a trend has especially been exacerbated by laws such as those that prevent the seizure and/or search of drugs from a suspect unless such a direction has been allowed by a court of law (Robert, 2004). There is therefore a need to design laws that would take care of issues such as those on drug raids so as to prosecute the real criminals in the drug trade.

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Through coordination with charity organizations, and also on its own, the government has been trying to rehabilitate a number of individuals with drug abuse problems (Drug Detox, 2008). Such efforts towards rehabilitation have involved both physiological medication and counseling for those members under the rehabilitation program. Rehabilitation programs have been useful in helping a portion of drug abusers overcome the problem of drug addition and live fruitful lives again.

Still, there is a general feeling that the government can perform much better in rehabilitation efforts as it will be discussed later in this paper. In another way, there have been efforts to educate vulnerable segments of our society on the destructive effects that can result from the abuse of illegal drug substances.

An important approach that has been pursued by the government in tackling the problem of drug abuse has been in building a database and network of investigations so as to halt and net drug culprits (Johnson, 2008). Such a trend has especially been useful in building concrete evidence inert of unlawful drug searches in arresting drug suppliers and producers. Here, government agents may camouflage as drug customers so as to penetrate the network of drug suppliers and producers (Johnson, 2008).

Considering the well established network of the drug trade; which cuts across countries and continents, the government has endeavored to extend investigations from home to areas where the drugs are produced. Like many other crimes, the war on drugs needs to increasingly focus on an investigative approach so as to pursue members of our society that participate in drug crimes.

In several instances, the government has encouraged the provision of information about drug activities in the country by withholding persecution and/or rewarding individuals that provide useful knowledge about drug activities in the country (Johnson, 2008). Considering the need for secrecy while giving such knowledge on drug crimes to the government, it is difficult to gauge the success of such efforts although they have been useful in halting stopping a number of drug criminals.

The drug environment

In order to overcome the problem of drug abuse, there is a need for the government to employ all of its available assets in tackling the challenge of drug abuse. The security machinery of the government that includes the police and other security agents is relied upon to carry out investigative work, arrest, halt and prosecute drug criminals (Johnson, 2008). In doing the above, the government has been compelled to act within established laws; some of which have a potential of limiting the government capacity in the war against drug crimes (Such as those that prevent drug raids).

As such, the government has been relying on its institutions and manpower to fight against drugs (as it can be allowed by current laws). In some cases, issues of technicality (as in the dismissal of evidence against an offender), and the compromise of personnel has prevented the government from achieving the intended success in the war against drug crimes.

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Another positive resource that has contributed to mitigate the problem of drug abuse originates from efforts by individuals and organizations in our society who have coupled the government in fighting drug crimes. Based on their ingrained ethical directions, some members of our society have naturally averted drug crime. Besides, such members of our society have contributed their resources in fighting drug crimes; as it happens when they help in the rehabilitation of drug addicts, among other efforts that they may engage in.

With a considerable number of individuals with a religious following in our country, the country has been able to tap into a significant segment of a populace with a tradition that goes against the use of illegal drugs (Robert, 2004). As it is clearly known, the most important resource in tackling the problem of drug abuse needs to originate from our society itself. Without such a resource, our society will tend towards legalizing the use of otherwise illegal drug substances in our country; as it has happened in some countries like the Netherlands (Robert, 2004).

On the other hand, a number of factors have helped to create and accelerate the abuse of drugs in our country. As our society has modernized, there has been a change in our lifestyles with an impact on increasing life’s pressure on individuals. Such a direction has occurred as people have been compelled to work excessively hard to meet their demands, as families have disintegrated, and the fiber of families and friends has weakened (Addiction Science Network, 2011).

Importantly, vulnerable groups like the youth have been unable to draw direction and guidance from their family institutions; hence, plunging into a sense of confusion as a result (Addiction Science Network, 2011). Here, such vulnerable groups have been easily recruited into drug abusers by drug marketers. In summary, a range of social parameters in our society have been a catalyst in promoting the problem of drug abuse.

As it has been mentioned earlier, the war against drugs has been dented by compromising institutions and personnel in the government. Such compromised individuals have been corrupted by drug money to cooperate with drug operators. Another problem has also resulted from a difficulty in providing concrete evidence against drug criminals (especially producers and distributors) since such evidence cannot originate from drug raids; therefore, leaving the government with a limited field to operate in (Robert, 2004).

Analysis

As it has been mentioned, a considerable boulder that has stood on the road towards winning the drug war includes existing laws (Apgar et al., 2003). In the United States, drug raids are not allowed unless such an activity has been allowed by a court (Apgar et al., 2003). Besides the process that is involved n obtaining such raid permits, with their well oiled network of collecting information, drug operators will always have the option of transferring illegal drug substances to a different area when they suspect that their premises could be raided (Apgar et al., 2003). Ironically, the government has moved at an amazing speed to install controversial stripping machines at some airports with no regard to the right of privacy while in actual sense, the danger of drug abuse is more real then the danger of terrorism at the moment (Robert, 2004). Therefore, it will be fruitful to amend the law so that netted drugs during drug raids can be allowed to prosecute involved criminals.

Although the government has been making efforts to rehabilitate individuals addicted to drugs, there is a need to improve on such efforts (Leshner et al., 1997). In one way, there has been inefficiency on the part of government employees that are involved in the rehabilitation process (Leshner et al., 1997). Such a trend is especially predominant in jails where government counselors perform such duties with an element of casualty (Leshner et al., 1997). To halt such a trend, there is need for the government to have an effective method of monitoring government employees assigned with rehabilitation duties.

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Moreover, there is a need to increase the number of drug rehabilitants to match the real number of affected drug addicts that exist in the country (Leshner et al., 1997). In addition, it will be fruitful for the government to employ more creative methods that would lure an increasing number of drug addicts to rehabilitation programs (Leshner et al., 1997). Such methods could include tax cuts for those that freely enroll in rehabilitation programs among other creative techniques.

As it can be seen, the problem of drug crime cannot be limited to a specific location or country (Kleiman et al., 2000). While drug substances may be planted in a country that is located in South America, such substances could be shipped to an African country before reaching their final market in the United States (Kleiman et al., 2000). Therefore, In order to effectively mitigate the problem of drug abuse in our societies, there is a need for the global community to cooperate in establishing homogenous laws against drugs, sharing intelligence on drug activities and working in unison to identify and arrest drug criminals (Kleiman et al., 2000).

Such kind of cooperation may even result in an action like the bombing of drug plantations vigorously protected in parts of the developing world (Kleiman et al., 2000). Considering different laws on drugs that currently exist in different countries around the world, drug operators will continue to exploit weak governments, corrupt institutions and favorable laws to continue their rich and exploitative business (Kleiman et al., 2000).

Since the drug problem has established roots from society challenges such as poverty, self identity problems, emotional challenges among similar issues, it would be fruitful for the drug policy to focus in tackling such areas( In an effort to mitigate the drug problem) (Harold, 1990). Distribution of wealth with a focus on upgrading the economical wellbeing of poor segments in our society would be an important step in mitigating the problem of poverty and drug abuse (Harold, 1990).

As it is known, vulnerable youths from poor areas are more likely to abuse drugs than their counterparts from opulence neighborhoods. The government can also focus on promoting activities such as sports in neighborhoods that have vulnerable youths susceptible to drug abuse (Harold, 1990). Such a direction would be useful in directing the energies of such youths positively for their wellbeing; hence, preventing them from turning to drug substances (Reduct, 2007). Besides, it would be useful to focus considerable rehabilitation efforts in areas that are populated with large numbers of drug abusers (Harold, 1990).

In a way, the government has appeared to lax in its efforts at tackling the problem of drug abuse as more efforts have been placed on curbing terrorism among other areas that have been deemed to be more important (Robert, 2004). Although such issues are of great importance to the wellbeing of our society, the danger that is posed by drug substances to our society may have been underestimated. In order to effectively mitigate the problem of drug abuse in our society, it will be useful for the drug policy to rate among the top priorities for the government (Reduct, 2007). Ironically, the problem of drugs may be having a more pronounced and gradual effects on our society than terrorism and other issues that are currently of top priority for our government (Robert, 2004).

Conclusion

Considering how the problem of drug abuse continues to affect our society in multiple and negative ways, the government policy in handling the problem (Drug abuse) is of great importance to our society. While the current approach that has been employed by the government has been useful in mitigating the challenge of drug abuse, there is a need for a refinement of the public policy on drugs. Such a refinement needs to handle the avenues that have been exploited by drug traders (To continue their illegal drug trade) such as protective laws, corrupt institutions and poverty among others. As drug criminals become more clever, adaptive, and sophisticated, our public policy on drugs needs to respond in an equal if not a greater measure.

Reference List

Addiction Science Network (2011) A primer on drug addiction, Web.

Andrews, T (2008). Substance Abuse, treatment and public safety Washington: McMillan

Apgar, R.K, et al. (2003) Successful strategies for the treatment of substance use Disorders New York: McMillan: 2003.

Drug Detox (2008). Solutions to drug addictions, Web.

Harold, M. (1990) Drug abuse and treatment Carolina: University of Carolina Press.

Johnson, A. (2008) Background on drug abuse. Carolina: University of Carolina Press.

Kleiman, R.A.M, et al. (2000) Against Excess: Drug policy for results. NCJ Journal, 15, 490-8.

Leshner, A.I, et al. (1997) Addiction is a brain disease and it matters. Journal of Science 3, 45-47.

Reduct, H. (2007) Drug addiction from an evolutionary perspective Psychoactive 42.4, 477-84.

Robert, L.H. (2004) National Perspective on drug abuse McMillan: New York.

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